Curtis Stone's nanny 'feared for her safety' when she confronted Coles chef over unpaid wages
Curtis Stone is pictured with his wife, Lindsay Price.
Celebrity chef Curtis Stone is embroiled in a legal battle with his former nanny, who allegedly “feared for his safety” when she confronted him about poor working conditions and unpaid wages, and is demanding a jury trial.
The Australian cook, 47, and his wife Lindsay Price, 46, hired Melissa Talley in 2019 to care for their children Hudson, 11, and Emerson, eight, in their sprawling $11.5 million mansion in the luxurious suburb of Brentwood, Los Angeles.
Ms. Talley did not live with the family, but was required to cook for the children, read to them, take them to classes and activities, bathe them and do minor housework, for an annual salary of US$65,000 (A$94,000).
California labor laws require state employees to work a maximum of nine hours per business day, or 45 hours per week total. Employers must pay time and a half for all additional hours of work.
According to court documents filed in Los Angeles State Court in September of last year, Ms. Talley claims that she regularly worked more than nine hours a day, but alleges that she was not paid for overtime.
The child care worker also claims an hour was deducted from her pay for lunch, even though she had no off-duty meal breaks.
Furthermore, Ms. Talley alleges that she was fired when she approached Stone with her concerns.
Mrs. Talley’s famous lawyer frank kim – who is suing Kanye West for allegedly failing to pay 500 artists – told Daily Mail Australia that Stone tried to force his client to sign a document in February 2020 and allegedly “harassed” her when she refused.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Stone for comment.
Curtis Stone and Lindsay Price (pictured with their children) hired a nanny in 2019 to take care of their children
Court documents say Stone tried to present Talley with a check for US$1,000 (AU$1,400) during the same meeting. He did not sign the document or accept the money.
Ms. Talley claims she was then “called” into Stone’s office a few days later to meet with him and another person, during which time her employment was allegedly terminated and she was told to sign another document.
She claims that he did not explain what the document was for or why he needed to sign it.
“Feeling pressured and overwhelmed, Ms. Talley left the office and sat in the hallway to compose herself and review the document outside of Stone’s presence,” court documents say.
“However, Stone immediately followed Ms. Talley and continued to pressure her to sign the document while looming over her.
“Fearing for her own safety, Ms. Talley ultimately signed the document without reading it to stop Stone’s harassment.”
The former nanny claims she has suffered “continuous humiliation, emotional distress, and mental and physical pain and anguish.”
Curtis Stone is an ambassador for the Australian supermarket Coles. He lives and works in California.
She alleges that Stone’s “misconduct was committed intentionally, maliciously, oppressively, and fraudulently.”
Ms. Talley is seeking compensation for the overtime she worked, with interest, plus damages, including lost wages and profits, and demands that Stone cover her legal fees.
The case is due to go to arbitration, with the next case management conference scheduled for March 21.
If the matter goes to trial, Ms. Talley has demanded that her case be heard before a jury.
A household name in both Australia and the US, Stone is worth an estimated around $36 million. Along with the Brentwood property, he also owns a $9 million ranch in Malibu.
He operates three upscale restaurants in Los Angeles called Maude, Gwen and Georgie, and is the ambassador for Australian budget supermarket Coles.